Where am, what am I supposed to be doing? 

Oh my goodness. Oh my that problem where you’re in the middle of the work day. And you’re just trying to figure out what I was in the middle of doing what was supposed to be going on. 

Where was I, which tab was I working on? What am I doing here? Where am I supposed to be focusing?

Hey, I just completely forgot. 

Managing Your Brain and Your Business When You Forget A Lot

Well, you guys may not know this about me, but I have a working memory problem. And today we’re talking about how you can manage your brain and your business if you happen to forget a lot like I do, because to be perfectly honest, I know you guys heard me say this. And I think my members tell me, I say it all the time, but only recently in the last 11 years or so 10 years or so, since my daughter was born, did I really understand that I have ADHD? 

And even though in the early nineties, when I was in college at Florida state, did I find out that I have a working memory disability? I was at least diagnosed with a short term working memory disability.

Do you know what that means? It means I forget a lot in the middle of a task in the middle of a conversation in the middle of everything, brain is blank and you think, oh, well, that’s not a big deal, but when running a business and trying to move the needle forward and get momentum in my business, it can often stop me.

So today here on the Meredith Canaan show, I wanted to share with you some of the things that I do to work with my brain instead of fighting the idea that I will often forget. 

Look, I know many of us will walk into a room and be like, what did I come in here for? Or you open up your computer and go to your Google drive and you go, what was I looking for? It might not happen as often for you as it does for me or somebody whose brain works just a little bit differently. 

Accepting My Neurodiversity

So ADHD means I am neurodiverse. It means my brain works differently than everybody else. I do not have a neurotypical brain and there are some amazing, super gifts that come with my ADHD. I’m also gifted dysgraphia, dyslexic, you name it twice exceptional. I have visual processing issues. I have the gambit that my brain doesn’t work like a typical normal human being. And that’s what neuro divergent means. 

Being Neurodiverse 

It’s often a conversation that’s coming to the forefront and people are talking more and more about how to work with us? Just in case you are an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance that you may have undiagnosed ADHD, especially if you’re a woman, because ADHD in girls looks so different than it does in boys. And when you’re in school and testing, people often don’t know to look for it. Or didn’t know what to watch for back in the day. My parents at least knew I had reading issues, tested me for dyslexia. I don’t know how many times I wanna say it was three and it didn’t show up.

So I digress a little, but I know some of you guys are really interested because if I hadn’t mentioned this already, we’re in neuroquirky planning season. For those of you with a neuroquirky kind of brain, this season is for you. 

So today we’re really focusing on part of our executive function in the way our brain works. One whole section is dedicated to memory and how we process information.

And so today is along that talk topic, because again, I have a working memory disability. And so I wanna share with you how I work around that inside my business, how I take advantage. I’ll give you a hint. Post-its kind of plays a little bit of a part. 

One of the problems is I also happen to have a bajillion ideas.

I’m highly creative and I’m constantly thinking of new things. And I love new things. I love all of my new fabulous ideas and how do I not get super scattered or even just idea, idea, idea. I can generate million dollar ideas all day long, but I can’t necessarily implement all of them, especially all at once. So how do I happen to take care of that?

Tip #1 – Write Things Down

So one of the things that I do, so tip number one, if you happen to have a memory issue, you forget things a lot. And if you’re highly stressed out in your life, it affects your executive function as well. So you might have it, maybe you’re not diagnosed, but your executive function and your memory’s not working or you’re aging and your memory’s not working in the way that it used to.

I know it’s getting worse as I knock on fifties door. 50, I’m coming for you. So I wrote it down today so that I can remember all the things I wanna share with you. 

So one of the things that I do is number one is all of my brilliant ideas. I keep it to placing them into very few number of places.

I have a specific notebook for ideas. I use my slack app. If you’re not familiar with slack is a chatting app that you can use amongst teams. And even if I didn’t have a team, I love my slack app. I have a channel in slack for ideas, and oftentimes I slack myself, my brilliant ideas by sending myself a text.

So I don’t forget because what happens is my working memory is so fast. I lose things so quickly that I have a little bit of anxiety that I’m gonna have a brilliant idea and forget it. And my God, that would be horrible that my brilliant idea doesn’t get captured somewhere and handled and thought through and processed. 

So again, I keep it simple. I have one notebook that I put my ideas in. I use the slack app on my phone. I keep it really simple. And then I use the notes app on my phone, on occasion with my slack app. I often share my brilliant idea with either the person who the idea relates to on my team. So I have some ideas on how I need to handle some things tech wise, for stuff that’s coming up. So I send those ideas to Scotty, my tech guy. I will often send a lot of my ideas and my projects to my project manager and be like, Hey, we need to schedule this one out, coming up soon. Or this is something I wanna teach. Can you help remind me of that? I wanna teach this for the membership. 

I just sent one of those yesterday. 

So often I have the people that I need to share the ideas with, and I will share the idea with them directly and then say, Hey, we can talk about this at our next meeting, just so that it’s like putting a pin in it so it doesn’t get forgotten. So those are kind of my three biggest places to capture ideas.

If I have multiple notebooks, I’d get confused as to which notebook I put it in. And if I have too many structures, it’s too much, because I’ll forget. Where did I put it? But I keep it down to three places. Then I know I can look in the notes. I can look in slack and I can look in my notebook.

Those are the three places that I keep ideas because otherwise it gets overwhelming. And if I have a specific project that I’m working on right now is neurodiverse, neurodiverse planning, neuroquirky planning season. And with that, I have a whole document. So anything that relates to the neuroquirky planning season goes into that one document and that’s it. Otherwise it’s too many places.

So keep it simple and give yourself an easy to reach structure for not forgetting. The reason I like slack is it’s on my phone. I have the app on my phone, my notes on my phone. Those are the two best places. So number one is keep the things that you wanna remember, get them out of your head and capture them. That’s the most important part, capture it somewhere and keep the places to look for things as simple as possible. So that’s tip number one on how to handle a brilliant mind who forgets things. 

There was a Disney movie about the scattered professor or something like that. Super brilliant guy, but oh my goodness forgets things. And his paper is everywhere, which is what my little scene was at the beginning of the conversation. Then sometimes I do a quick post-it note for the three bullet points. I do this for all of my Facebook lives so that I can keep it and then I can throw it out because once I don’t need to remember it anymore, I don’t need to keep this piece of paper.

I did see one of my mentors who had like magic Stickum post-its. I think they might even be reusable or washable. Oh, I think I need those. 

Tip #2 – Don’t Forget things

The next thing that I do is make sure that I don’t forget things because every once in a while I will get lost in what I’m doing and forget where I am supposed to be. 

We live in an age where we have these things attached to us at all times, our fabulous cell phones. I put timers on my cell phone. Or I put something, I heavily rely on my Google calendar to know where I’m supposed to be and when I’m supposed to be there. So having simple structures in place to help you remember these things can be very helpful.

If I’m on the phone, scheduling something, I schedule it into my calendar. If it doesn’t go into my calendar. Sure enough. I’ll forget. I even have all of the cheerleading stuff for my daughter in my work calendar. So I remember where I’m supposed to be and when I’m supposed to be there. And so the first thing is having structures to help you remember things.

And it can be simple structures that are visual. If you’re a visual person who needs the visual processing, it could be a little checklist by your coffee of all the things. Or a checklist out the door or something like that or a bracelet that reminds you to take something. So alarms can be very helpful on your phone. Visual reminders can be very helpful of where you need to be.

Yes. I happen to leave all my tabs open so I can remember what I’m working on because I don’t have, sometimes I forget the words as they try to come out of my mouth, I keep my tabs open because if I get up to go pee or get a glass of something other than coffee to drink or whatever it is, I’ll come back and be like, what was I working on again? But if the tabs open, then I can remember. So I do keep my tabs open. 

That’s one of my visual reminders of what I’m currently working on. So visual reminders, structures that support you like a calendar. I check my calendar at night before I go to bed. So I know what time I have to be where in the morning.

And I check it again during the day to make sure that I know where I’m supposed to be throughout the day, because I like to have empty spaces so that I can work on things. But, I have all the alerts set to ding and on my computer for my appointments. So it goes off 10 minutes before I have an actual appointment for a client or something.

Tip #3 – Create Lasting Habits

And then, number three to help me are those habits. The habit I was talking about is checking the calendar and gosh, I have to tell you I freaking hate habits. I’m a little bit of a rebel, my aquarium nature. And I don’t like being boxed in and every time I see people who have a habit trackers, I want to be like I don’t get you. 

But then I have to look at myself and go. But honestly there are habits that naturally have grown out of working in my business. Even just checking that Google calendar, that might be the number one habit that I have that helps keep me from having to rely on my very non-functioning brain.

Not having to rely on it, I have to keep it out of here cause I just mentioned cheerleading that the first Thursday of every month they get to wear something else besides their uniform. And next month is October breast cancer awareness. So they’re wearing pink. I’m gonna have to put it in my calendar that it’s wear pink and or set an alarm for that day.

When we’re getting out of the house that says, do we have the color for this thing so that we have the right uniform to wear. So I still haven’t figured out what I’m gonna do about that. because guess what? My girls, a little ADHD like me and she’s not gonna remember either. We don’t have the executive frame brain structure for those things.

Checklists can be very helpful. So my invitation for you is are there habits and look at, are there habits that you’re already using? I think the other habit that I do is, I’m out walking with my dog or I’m sitting enjoying the sun and all of a sudden something just kind of downloads into my brain. And oftentimes, so dyslexic, dysgraphic don’t write really well. So I wanted to, like when I think of a post that’s really personal or something like that, it starts the way that it works in my brain is it starts to run in my head and it’ll, I’ll start talking it in my head. 

So one of the habits that I have is when they start doing that and they start kind of going on a loop, that’s my sign that I need to get my phone out, hit the notes app and then just talk to text and just let the thoughts inside my brain ramble and talk to text the post. And then I can either send the post or what I’ve written to my social media gal and say, Hey, can you put this together? Or I will just edit it inside the thing and post it on social media, myself, because social media is a combination of me and the person on my team because I can’t do it all. She and I though often have a good schedule of, I need to say, this is what we’re talking about this month. And these are all the posts and here have some fun ideas. And so she’ll capture my language and capture my words as she starts to put together the things.

So again, the structures and then the habits. 

My Talk to Text Process

So the minute the download starts to hit repeat, it’s my reminder to grab my phone, open the notes app and then talk to text and just speak it out so that all of those brilliant things that I have to say, get put in a structure somewhere and then I can figure out when to post it and when to put it out there and how to edit it.

And is it an email or is it a social media post? Is it something or other. So those are my three keys on how to help work with your mind. Now this is how I work with my working memory disability. And you might need to create other things, but the place to look is following these basic tips. 

A – capture system. That’s simple.

Number one is a capture system. That’s simple for me. My top three are the slack on my phone, on my computer everywhere, which I love because I can put reminders too, like remind me in a month, do this other thing. There’s so many really cool features in slack that can help me right. If I can set it and or to send the fancy idea off to the person who it relates to.

So that’s number one. Number two is the notes app on the phone. And again, I like the phone because it’s right here, it’s a structure. That’s almost always with me. And most of the things here sometimes I’ll send a text to myself. Those things are always with me because they’re integrated into my phone and my laptop.

So slack is in both places. So the simple tools, I have a notepad for writing things, but it’s just one notepad. It’s my notepad and I have a separate notepad for all my client stuff. So I keep those separate. So I know that if I’m looking for a note somewhere, it’s in my notepad. And the notes on the phone. 

Simple capture structure for your ideas, whatever that looks like. It could be a jar and you just write on post-its and shove the new ideas. I call that the ideation box. That can also be a really good capture tool for when you forget things. 

The next is the structures, whether it’s reminders and beepers and bongs and alarms, et cetera, that are auditory or visual reminders of what you were in the process of doing again. That’s why a lot of us have 65,000 different tabs open because I have the banking thing open. Cause I remember I have to deposit a check or I have to check my money tracking. I have the word document on my newest upcoming masterclass open.

So I said, if I have a project, I have one place to capture all of the ideas, the messaging, the documentation on that one project, neuroquirky planning season. With pumpkins, because guys it’s pumpkin spice season. And Cap and I had pumpkin pie the other day just cause for no reason, we just bought a pie and split it.

And I love all things. Pumpkin, pumpkin spice, lattes, pumpkin spice distractions.

So the structures calendars the dings and dong alarms, et cetera. And like I said, the visuals. So whatever that can be for you and then B the habits, what are the habits that you need to keep track of?

What are the habits that either you started developing to keep remembering things? For me, the habits are checking that calendar morning and night. And when I have an idea that keeps running to pick up the phone and talk to text it so that I can get it out of my head because clearly if it’s still running in my head, the universe says it has to come out.

And so, I have those brilliant ideas. And so I have to have them come out. I have one that I did this past week. That’s gonna come soon all about not belonging and my neurodiversity and how it affected me in school and growing up. Yes. Because it’s neuroquirky planning season.

And then I think the other thing is to just remember that when something is there to just do it now, especially because it takes away that level of anxiety that I have forgotten something. So I will stop for a moment and take notes. I will stop in the moment and send the slack. I will stop in the moment and write something down or open the tab of the thing that I have to do. Cancel the chewy order. That’s on auto because I’m getting too much dog food and oh my goodness, I got the wrong dog food. Things like that. 

So hopefully this has been very helpful for you on things that you can do to run your business. Even if you happen to forget things often a lot and quickly, I don’t know how fast, I don’t know the speed at which I forget things, but again, you’ve noticed even today that in the middle of a sentence, I’ll forget what I’m saying. I will lose my words altogether. 

All of these are examples of the quirkiness of my brain and how working memory affects me in running my business. So many different things. And as I look back at life, I can see the expectations that I didn’t meet, how much I was a disappointment the way in which it has caused issues.

My acting career alone, hello, cold readings with a working memory. They just don’t go hand in hand. It’s why I was so much better at improv because I could just let my brain go. And I was creative and in the moment and present. 

So no matter the way your head works, if you are dealing with information processing. If you’re dealing with memory issues. If you have problems writing, it’s why I talk to text. If you have problems with math, these are all a part of that. Part of your brain’s neurodiversity, the executive function of how you handle information, process information and how you remember information. So again, I wanna share with you, if you are interested in understanding how to create your business and plan around your brain’s neurodiversity. To really be able to work for your unique brain, your way in your business. 

Based on all of these things, I have got some amazing things coming up in neuroquirky planning. And I have a masterclass that I am announcing. Now I just mentioned it yesterday. It is Think and Plan Differently. And I am gonna share with you the four simple steps to create a plan for neurodiverse entrepreneurs, whether you have a diagnosis or not. If you just feel like, yeah, I think differently than everybody else. And these systems don’t work for me. This could be a plan and a system that might be right for you. It is not a one size fits all. It is a plan designed with your neuro-divergence in mind.

It is a way to plan based on you and your strengths. So there is a link in the description above this video and it is Meredithcanaan.com/planning October 6th at 3:00 PM, which is 6:00 PM. It’s a good, pretty internationally. My Australians and new Zealanders. I think it’s early in the morning for you guys, the following day on the seventh, which is mad daddy’s birthday and on the sixth, it’s pretty good for Hawaii. And it’s not too late for you guys on the east coast, in the United States. 

So if you’re interested it’s October 6th and we are gonna talk about all of the quirkiness of your mind and how you can create a planning system that works with your strengths, the strengths of who you are, so you can shine brightly. And we’re gonna talk about some of the unused tools in business. 

The number one unused tool in business that you may not know about and how it can help you when you think just a little bit differently. So go ahead and join me. The link is here and up there and I will see you in October and for the rest of this month, we are gonna talk about neuroquirky planning. So even if you don’t have a diagnosis working with the way your brain works, your strengths are a powerful, powerful thing to help you get that momentum in your business and you get to do it your way.